The first shower of the day arrived as we entered the first lock.
There must be something in the material of our rain jackets that sucks water out of clouds, because invariably the rain commences at exactly the moment one of us has to go outside, and doesn't stop until we are both inside again.
The lock keeper smiled as we took off our rain jackets and made it stop. His smile widened as we passed him a freshly brewed coffee, and asked if we'd mind waiting for ten minutes or so for a following boat, so he could save himself the effort of doing everything twice on the climb to Pouilly. At the same time we were stunned when he asked if we particularly wanted to stop for lunch, perhaps, he suggested we could keep going.
This suggestion had us reeling in confusion. It contravened all that we thought we knew of the culture of this country, all that is held sacred, not to mention the labour regulations, so I replied that we would be happy to stop if he felt it appropriate.
But he was insistent.
A few minutes later his new trainee appeared on her moped.
Four locks of instruction later she appeared to be fully trained, and our intrepid keeper disappeared quietly behind us in direction lunch time, leaving us in the care of his young student. We couldn't see through the misty rain whether his shoulder's were jiggling up and down in a sort of "gotcha" chuckle, but we bet they were.
She, on the other hand, guided us in good humour between locks and thunderstorms, declining all offers of sustenance, until the very top of our climb, where she took her leave, and we settled in for a few days of waiting for clearing weather.